Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 4th of July Trip

Lora and I headed out to do some trails on her to do list.  It was a great few days that we got to spend with Dad and Mom as well as celebrate our United States Independence.  Of the 150 trails in the Smoky Mountain National Park, Lora had 67 more trails to hike.  After our three days out her new number is 71     trails to hike.  Doesn't add up very well, but you will see why.

We started out at the Sugarlands visitor center.  We hiked the Old Sugarlands trail from the Headquarters building out to Bull Head trail.  After we got going we found the Two Mile Lead trail.  After we hiked to the Bull Head trail we headed down the Two Mile Branch trail which is also not on the map.  We took it to the Grassy Branch trail , which is not on the map, back to the Two Mile Lead trail.  So we completed one of her trail and added three.

After we got off the trail we called Dad and Mom who were working the Patriot Festival in Pigeon Forge. We got to Pigeon Forge Patriot park in time to catch the last three bands playing.  We got us some dinner and were extremely upset to find that there were no cotton candy vendors anywhere.  Anyway the concert was great and there ended up being around 60,000 people there.  The main band was Lonestar and towards the end of their concert we could see Dollywood's fireworks going off.  After the concert, Pigeon Forge put on their fireworks display with music to accompany it.  It was amazing to hear 60,000 people singing America the Beautiful at the same time.

With every large gathering, the exit took quite some time.  We wondered around for a while and then walked up to Dad and Mom's car which was still sitting in line in the parking lot that they started at.  We visited a bit longer until the traffic started moving.

Day two, we got up and took Dad with us.  We dropped off a car at Greenbrier at the Grape Yard Ridge trailhead.  Then we headed to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature trail for the other end of the trail.  We did some exploring of the local neighborhood, before finding the wrong end of the one way nature trail.  We then found the right road and followed the many many cars heading around the loop and squeezing between parked cars to the trail head.

We hiked a couple of miles and stopped for lunch.  Mom had made us some mighty fancy trail sandwiches which were really good.  We met up with some hikers looking for the locomotive parts just up from Campsite #32.  We showed them on the map that they were at the wrong point.  We went to check out the campsite and the others followed us and then kept going down the trail.  Well we followed them looking and not finding the same site.  When we got to the end of the trail we were at the wrong trailhead.  We had taken the Injun Creek trail, which is not on the map, and ended up at the ranger station in Greebrier.  So between the three of us experienced? hikers, none of us had read the signs at campsite #32.  We had to hike the two miles of road to the car.  Dad showed us where the Rhododendron Creek trail was which also, not on the map, goes up to the Grape Yard Ridge trail.  Thus, we had completed one half of a trail and added two more to her list.

Day three, after church, we headed to the Top Of the World and the Gold Mine trail.  This was Mom's hike and another trail.  We hiked down to the Cooper Road trail and took the Cane Creek trail.  This finished Lora's Cane Creek and we didn't add any trails this time.


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